“The firmest friendships have been formed in mutual adversity, as iron is most strongly united by the fiercest flame.” — C. C. Colton
“Friendship makes prosperity brighter, while it lightens adversity by sharing its griefs and anxieties.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero
“We all have people who pull on us, but we all need a few friends who propel us.” — Source Unknown
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17).
This text teaches that “a brother is born for adversity.” That means a friend is like a midwife who brings deliverance in those tight places in life — times of pain and difficulty. Mysteriously, “friends are the ones who have heard the song in my heart, and sing it back to me when memory has failed,” remarked one sage. A friend is skilled with the gift to lift the fallen spirit. “In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends,” said John Churton. The deepest friendships are born in the deepest valleys. Clarence Macartney remarked, “The true friend is one who is faithful in adversity and who abides with us in the darkness of night.”
We read from the Book of Job, “Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and everyone an earring of gold” (42:11). Job had three friends who came to visit him in his grief. Initially, they helped Job, but these friends lost their ministry to Job the instant they opened their mouths! His need was companionship, not advice. He needed comrades, not criticism. Among others who came to see him were his brothers and sisters. They sympathized with him, ate with him, comforted him, and assisted him financially.
Friends can be a tremendous asset in calamity. Minister to a man in his time of trauma, and he will never forget you. When my mother passed I sat at the graveside grieving beyond words. I glanced to the side and saw two of my best friends from elementary school. I had not seen them in years. Their concern and effort to attend lifted my heart in a way I cannot describe. The moment I saw them it brought a smile to my face, even in that grievous circumstance. It was not what they said — it was simply their presence that helped me.
Someone noted that the Lord gave us three things to aid us when our souls need to be restored: nature, music, and friends. When undergoing misfortune and difficulty, one of the most beneficial things is company — the right kind of company. A wise person commented, “A friend is one that multiplies your joys and divides your griefs.” That is the kind of arithmetic you need when you are down — joy increasing and misery declining. Real friends will help you laugh and carry your burdens, and laughter will serve to ease your burden. Even a temporary reprieve can be extremely helpful. Of course, there are times when solitude is necessary and preferred. But isolation for extended periods may not be healthy.
A “moral support system” is an invaluable aid in recovery. Grant your closest friends access in seasons of distress. Let them be your support group. True friends are the ones who will love you regardless of anything you may say or do when under duress. Don’t hesitate to call on your friends in times of trouble. Your friends want to help. Let them! Invite them into the inner arena of your life. They know when to speak, when to listen, and when to leave. You don’t need friends like Job — ones who critique and criticize. You need some “put’er-in’ers” not “tak’er-out’ers”. In other words, choose individuals who energize you instead of drain you. Open the door to those who build you up, and close the door to those who burden you. And by the way, if you have one or more true friends, you are blessed indeed!
- Are you making an active effort in your adversity not to isolate yourself from friends and family?
- Are there “tak’er-out’ers” in your life that you should start avoiding?
- Are there “put’er-in’ers” that are not currently in your life that you can invite into your struggle or adversity?
Taken from “Extraordinary Strength in Adversity” by Harold Vaughan. CLICK HERE for more information on the book.